Phantom Space stage hot fire test conducted in 2022. Credit: Phantom Space

SAN FRANCISCO – Phantom Space Corp. closed a bridge round to fund the Tucson, Arizona-based startup’s development and manufacturing of satellites and launch vehicles.

Phantom’s March 11 news release did not disclose the value of the latest round. To date, the company has raised about $37 million.

Phantom is developing Daytona, a launch vehicle for payloads with a maximum mass of 500 kilograms. In addition, Phantom plans to establish the Phantom Cloud small satellite constellation. Phantom Cloud is designed to provide satellite data backhaul services, on-orbit cloud storage and edge computing.

In addition to producing satellites for Phantom Cloud, Phantom sells small satellites. The first ESPA-class commercial satellite was delivered to a customer in 2022. (ESPA stands for Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Secondary Payload Adapter.)

Contrarian Approach

Phantom was founded in 2019 by Jim Cantrell, former CEO of launch vehicle startup Vector Launch, and Michael D’Angelo, former Moon Express chief strategy officer and vice president of technology and programs.

While other launch vehicle startups aim for vertical integration, Phantom seeks to take advantage of existing suppliers. Engines, for example, are being manufactured by Ursa Major.

By relying on proven suppliers, “we minimize capitalization needs,” Cantrell told SpaceNews by email. “What we cannot buy or if it’s too expensive, we develop ourselves. This includes the tanks, structures, mechanisms, avionics, software and valves.”

On the satellite side, Phantom sees strong demand “from space application companies that do not want to get into the business of building satellites,” Cantrell said. “We believe that companies who can both build and launch satellites will dominate the future market space by eliminating the one thing that seems to limit scaling: launch.”

As an example, Cantrell points to how quickly SpaceX has expanded its Starlink broadband constellation. “Nobody else has even come close to matching that,” he said.

Mass Manufacturing

Balerion Space Ventures led Phantom’s bridge round. Participants included the Reaser Family Office and Kolh Capital.

“Phantom is doing extraordinary things that will revolutionize space access to make it accessible, affordable and rapid,” Balerion founding partner Phil Scully said in a statement. “Phantom wants to make space universally accessible, lower cost, and rapid, thus becoming the Henry Ford of space.”

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...